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The Daily Tar Heel

Editorial: COVID-19 hasn't gone anywhere. You shouldn't, either

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We see your Instagram posts. We see your Snapchat stories. And we’re just wondering: Did you forget that we are living through a pandemic? Did you forget that people are dying? 

North Carolina’s new COVID-19 cases currently rank among the highest in the country. Now is not the time to be lax with your COVID-19 precautions — in fact, we should be more cautious than ever. Cases in North Carolina are up 15 percent in the past 14 days, while deaths are up 20 percent and hospitalizations are up 21 percent, according to data from The New York Times.

North Carolina currently ranks 8th in the U.S. for new COVID-19 cases. In the spirit of mindless midterm grade calculations, let’s take a second to put that into perspective: 8 out of 50 is a 16 percent. How would you feel about opening up Sakai and seeing that you’re in the bottom 16 percent of your class? Not good (hopefully). Otherwise, it might be time to consider office hours.

We understand where the confusion stems from. When everyone around you seems to not only be returning to normal life, but also questioning why you aren’t doing the same, you might feel like the odd one out. We’re here to tell you that, sometimes, that’s okay! 

Remember when camo first came back in style? The luckiest among us refused to take part, and back then, we were the weird ones. But look who’s laughing now! Let’s relive the camo trend avoidance, but replace camo with putting your life at serious risk. You’ll thank yourself later.

UNC athletics are only contributing to the confusion. With football games back in person (and a big one coming up this weekend versus N.C. State), we urge you to hold back and enjoy the game from the safety of your living room. Pretending we don’t see the virus does not mean it’s no longer there; that only works with Twitter jokes!

And to those of you who have stayed inside since March, diligently following social distancing guidelines, wearing a mask whenever you step out for essential needs like groceries and turning down those party invitations, we see you, and we appreciate you! We know it must be exhausting to stay home day after day, while your peers seem to have forgotten why this was all necessary in the first place. 

Let us reiterate the statement many have been making on social media recently: Remember that your personal sacrifice these past seven months may have saved someone’s life, and don’t think for one second that it wasn’t worth it.

We know you are tired of keeping your distance, staying inside, wearing masks and constantly sanitizing. We are, too! It is absolutely reasonable to feel burnt out and exhausted following COVID-19 regulation. But this pandemic will only get better if we all work together and continue to prioritize the safety of ourselves and others.